Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Holiday Treats

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Holiday Treats

I had the pleasure of attending the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Denver last month. I was invited to speak on a panel about recipe development. It was a great experience but more importantly, it was an incredible opportunity to connect with wonderful advocates in the food allergy and celiac communities. Alisa Fleming, from Go Dairy Free, is one of them.

Alisa is a cookbook author and Senior Editor at Allergic Living. She literally wrote the book on dairy-free living and I am thrilled to share her guest post with you here today! Many of my readers are dairy-free in addition to being gluten-free. This roundup of delicious treats should be very helpful for the holidays and all year long. Please welcome Alisa…

Though chocolate is a beloved food throughout the year, cravings peak for most of us in the cooler months, and particularly around the holidays! Many people believe that chocolate is dairy-based, but I’m here to offer some good … make that GREAT news: chocolate is a naturally dairy-free and gluten-free food.

Chocolate is essentially cacao beans broken down and reassembled into a soft, creamy, palatable delight. Sugar is usually added to cut the bitterness, and yes, many chocolatiers add milk, cream, or butter to satisfy Americanized tastes, but a true semi-sweet or dark chocolate should be dairy-free.

You may be a little confused by the “cacao butter” or “cocoa butter” on a chocolate ingredient statement, but this is simply the creamy part of the cacao bean. It comes from a plant, not a cow, and has absolutely no relation to any type of dairy product.

When sourcing chocolate, take note of your personal dietary needs. Many dairy-free brands are made on shared equipment with milk chocolate. For most, the trace amounts of dairy that may get into a batch via cross-contamination are not a concern, but for those with a severe allergy, it’s best to seek out brands that are made on dedicated dairy-free equipment with food allergy procedures in place.

Two “allergen-safe” and delicious brands that I use in my recipes are Pascha Organic Chocolate (both bars and chips) and Enjoy Life Foods (all types of chips and chunks). I also like Scharffen Berger Home Baking Bars, which I have been told are made on dedicated equipment.

Now that we’ve established chocolate as a suitable and essential (in my opinion) food for gluten-free and dairy-free diets, it’s time to enjoy it with reckless abandon. Chocolate is a superfood after all, right? Below is my current Top Ten of holiday-worthy, indulgent, dairy-free and gluten-free chocolate-y recipes:

Homemade Peppermint Patties – Even better than store-bought and surprisingly simple and fun to make!

Double Chocolate Orange Cookies – A wonderful holiday-inspired combination adapted from my book.

Addictive Chocolate Granola Clusters – Just 3 ingredients and almost too easy.

Jumbo Triple Chocolate Muffin or Snack Cake for One – Includes speedy microwave and oven instructions.

Perfectly Peppermint Fudge Bites – Perfectly fudgy and guilty; just omit the peppermint if preferred.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops – No special pan required! They bake up on an ordinary baking sheet like the best part of the muffin – just the tops!

Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Shake – For those of us who enjoy thick, shake-like smoothies year round.

Ultra-Rich, Flourless Chocolate Fudge Brownies – One of those “I can’t believe it’s dairy-free and gluten-free” baked goodies.

Chocolate Cream Pie(s) – Make as minis or one big one – contains a suprise ingredient!

Wholesome Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – I tested with a specific gluten-free flour blend, but your favorite should work well.

For more information on using and sourcing dairy-free chocolate, see my section on How to Substitute Chocolate.

Alisa Fleming is founder of the leading dairy-free website,, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. She is also a recipe creator and ambassador for natural food companies, and an editor and freelance writer for international publications. For a further sampling of dairy-free, gluten-free healthy snack recipes from Alisa’s kitchen, download the ebook Snackable (available for FREE on most major platforms!).


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